How many hill stations are located in Gujarat? Does the state have any? Of course it has. Though Gujarat is located on the western part of India, it has one hill station which is famous all over India. It is known as Saputara.
Name of Saputara
Why the name Saputara? Because of the zig zag roads that lead to the hill station. Saputara means the ‘Residence of the snakes’. Saputara is located just on the southern side of Gujarat close to the Maharashtra border. It is surrounded by forests and hills. The hill station is situated in the Dang plateau of the mountain range of Sahyadri.
Geography of Saputara
Saputara is located at an altitude of 1000 mt above the sea level. It is a cool place to visit on a holiday all the year around. Even in the summer season, the temperature never crosses more than 30*c. It is spread over an area of 1,725 sq km with an altitude of 873 m. Even during the summer season, the temperature may drop during the night, so tourists are advised to take a woolen clothing along.
Tribals and Population
Earlier it was the residence of the tribals, but now it has been modernized so you can pretty much come across the urban population. A small part of ancient folklore says that Lord Ram spent major part of his exile-11 years in the forests of Saputara. The local tribals worship the snake god with the importance of Holi festival in the full.
The total population according to the last census was only 18,000. People speak Gujarati and Hindi as the main language.
Now what do tourists do when they visit this place in the holidays? Apart from walking around, they indulge in various activities like boating, visiting the beautiful and colourful gardens and of course, see the tribal museum. The hill station is also famous for its rope-way known as Pushpak. The rope-way is counted as one of the longest rope-ways in the country.
The other places of sight-seeing in Saputara are:
Sun rise point
Snake Statue of Sarpaganga River
The tourists never miss to see the large snake statue on the Sarpaganga river banks. As noted before, snakes are worshipped by the tribals or adivasis, who are more than 90% of the population of the region.
During the rainy season, it is worth to visit this place to see the Gira waterfalls at natural best. The Gira waterfalls are located 50 km from Saputara with a drop height of only 30 mt into the Ambika River. The tourists hire a jeep or go walking to enjoy the whole day.
Really speaking, it is one of the exciting and wonderful sights to see the waterfalls. Though you are not allowed to swim due to safety issues, you can sure go close to the waterfall ad take pictures.
Saputara Lake and Ropeway
The Saputara lake is surrounded by lush green gardens. It is a large lake ideal for boating and picnics. The boat club has various boats for hire like Sail boats, row boats and paddle boats. At the same time, those who want to view an entire Saputara range from the top can go to the rope-way. It is suspended above the hills, valleys and rivers. Of course one has to contact the Hotel Vaity for this scenic ride and experience. Photography enthusiasts make it a point to sit in the Rope-way to capture the entire region as well as the sunset view.
Personally speaking, one should try out the boating during early mornings and evenings to experience the quite serenity and the birds around you. A little bit of exercise is surely desirable!
Saputara Tribal Museum and Village
The Saputara Tribal Museum is located just at the middle of the hill station. The hill station is visited by school tours, tourists, children, etc to get information and knowledge of the culture and lifestyle of the tribals such as dance, marriage, work methods, etc. Various tools and equipments used by the tribal are kept on display here. Worth a visit for sure!
Tribal items like the trinklets, bamboo jewellery, pottery, key chains, vases etc are kept for display and sale here.
At the same time, the artist village will give a further view into the life of the tribals. See the Warli painting and crafts of the tribals. This program is run by Chandrakant Parmar and Surya Goswami.
Vansada National Park
Saputara is not without the natural wildlife. The Vansada National Park is a government controlled site and spread around 24 km. The wildlife includes leapords, pythons, some tigers, pangolin, snakes and pythons, giant squirrel, jungle cat, etc.
Sunrise and Sunset Points
The mornings and evenings in Saputara is filled with activity to see the sunrise and sunsets. People all over the world climb to the hills to see the sunrise as well as the sunset point at the Gandhi Shikhar peak. A full view of the Saputara is seen from these two points.
Hotels and Roadside Restaurants in Saputara
There are some very good hotels in Saputara which are cost affordable. The tourists can get accommodation in budget hotels to premium hotels. Every hotel is equipped with TV, telephone, 24*7 hot and cold running water, power generator and help desk for the tourists.
The other main attraction of Saputara is the roadside restaurants or the ‘larris’ which are very famous for all types of food. However, after 8 30 pm, the Saputara region becomes deserted. It is advised not to venture alone at night as sometimes leopards wander on the roads.
From the review of the tourists in Saputara, all the hotels have veg as well as non-veg food items, clean rooms and washrooms and easy booking facility
Some of the name of hotels are:
Vaity Ropeway resort
Savshanti lake resort
Shilpi hill resort
Distance to Saputara
The hill station can be accessed from Gujarat as well as from the Maharashtra border. Saputara is just 170 km from Surat, 420 km from Ahmedabad and 300 km from Vadodara. Surat is the nearest airport from Gujarat. From Maharashtra, it is just 80 km from Nashik and 280 km from Mumbai.
The Gujarat state buses also run to this location at regular intervals. Speaking from a tourist point of view, it is important to know the timings of the state buses as they vary and change periodically. Private buses and cars are most preferred by the tourists as they can come and go at will without waiting for transport. The bus stand is small and located centrally.
From the Gujarat state, the Waghai railway station is only 50 km away from the city.
Ideal for: Photography, Picnic, Retreat, Holiday(s), Honeymoon and Knowledge